Every dog that has entered my life has taught me lessons. Lessons in training, lessons in patience, lessons in adaptation and lessons in humility. There is one dog that taught me the value of the hunt…and how when the human shuts up, gets out of the way and lets the dog DISCOVER their advantage during training it creates a passionate participant that takes ownership of those behaviors.
Meet Liesel Weapon. Manhunter extraordinaire.
I often lovingly describe Liesel as ‘the nose’ of RYP. Tracking, detection, shed hunting she loves it all. You will also not find a sweeter more stable GSD. She can be handled by anyone which has earned her a place in movie roles but her REAL power is in her hunting ability.
This dog can lazily hang out with my children and give off all the vibes of a well balanced pet - but toss on her tracking harness and a fiery beast emerges lunging, barking and pulling…ready to follow odor and show me the way. She seems addicted. She seems obsessed. Why? Well honestly, it was the primary behavior I let her discover on her own. Now she owns it. Now it is her brand.
I did A LOT of training with Liesel when she was young. I showed her many behaviors and taught her many things…but tracking/trailing is the ONLY concept I feel I presented to her in a way that promoted self discovery and ownership in training.
The hunt. The discovery. The struggle. The find. These are the concepts that MUST be layered into ALL aspects of training if you want true fire and ignition in your training. What Liesel taught me through tracking I try to now apply to ALL concepts of training. The more you can setup the dog to discover their way vs show them the way the more you will see a fiery participant in training.
NePoPo® is all about ignition. Your training culture must encourage a dog to be an active participant/hunter in the process. You want them confident in their ability to problem solve and DARE to challenge you (the handler) for the betterment of the team. I learned about this concept tracking with Liesel in the backcountry of Montana…
Seemed only fitting when designing a logo for my NePoPo® New Gold School it would include Liesel Weapon and I in the mountains. The tracking leash is in my hands and Liesel is eagerly waiting for me to clip her up so she can show ME the way…
Want to see Liesel Weapon in action? Checkout this video of an Army evasion training day we put on...she flew in helicopters and spent the day hunting down teams trying to evade capture. She racked up 9 cumulative miles this day...She didn't work for food, a toy or praise from me. The hunt is her passion. Doing the behavior IS her reward.